Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Responding to Escalator Fires and Emergencies

Issue 9 and Volume 169.

By FRANK LEEB Escalators, which quietly and effectively move millions of people daily, are commonly used in many occupancies. And yet, escalator fires and incidents constitute an uncommon response for firefighters. (1) Examples of main line disconnects usually found at the top of the escalator and that are typically attached to a large junction box. (Photos by author.) Since its patent in 1892, escalator design has changed very little over the years. Escalators were once constructed with wooden steps; but in 1987, 31 people died at the King’s Cross station of the London Underground-including London Fire Brigade Firefighter Colin Townsley-when a fire broke out in the escalator. Today, modern escalator steps are constructed of lightweight forged aluminum, reducing-but not eliminating-the fire load. (2) Examples of main line disconnects usually found at the top of the escalator and that are typically attached to a large junction box. (Photos by author.) Escalators…

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